I signed my story today in front of a videocamera for my ASL class. It was ok, not very good, but not horrible. I actually had a very good version of the classic Tortoise and the Hare story ready (that was the guideline- needed to be any story loosely based on that story), and I had the English gloss version I devised typed out for my use with very large type, numbered and on only two pages. BUT for some reason, I decided that I would change it at the last minute, in the car on my way (running very late!) for my appointment. Why oh why did I decide to change it or think that I could sign in front of a videocamera without notes to guide me through the sequence???!!!!
You see, my car wouldn't start. This is an old problem that I have been trying to just deal with until the quarter was over and I could be without the car for a few days. It isn't the battery, or the starter exactly- it is something to do with the key and switch or maybe the relay or all three of those. If I am patient and keep trying and turning the key, it will finally hit the right spot and the car starts. You see the similarity? Patient perseverance wins the race.
So I created the new story and practiced while driving on my way in. I could tell all the various events. It worked out to about the right time. It seemed good, even rather clever in places the way I tied it all together. But I was driving so I couldn't write it down.
What happened in front of the camera was predictable. I couldn't remember the entire sequence of events the way I wanted to tell it. I could remember how I had phrased parts, but not others so I went back and forth in time a bit. I said all kinds of things, including some incorrectly. I froze, seemed confused, shaken- exactly as the rushed, fast drive, almost late, nervous in front of the camera events would have made anyone.
But it is ok. It is over. I passed unless I don't show up for the final exam. I can say a bit in ASL, carry on a conversation about a few things, and improvise others to communicate over a fair range of topics. I still don't understand/follow well, unless a regular signer slows down a bit, but that will come with practice too. I want to take more, practice more and I will learn more. In the end, I guess those are the things that are most important.